Here, Here!! From the mouths of a babe comes wisdom beyond
his years. Read this A1C's response to an article that was in
the Washington Post to a female writer that obviously takes for
granted the people who defend her right to print the crap she
did. This is a very good article written by A1C Bragg at Hill
AFB-perhaps we need to thank him for his eloquent response.
Don Estes, SGM, USA (Ret)
Ms. Williams: I just had the pleasure of reading your column
of 12 Jan 00, "Our GIs Earn Enough," and I am a bit confused.
Frankly, I'm wondering where this vaunted overpayment is going,
because as far as I can tell, it disappears every month between
DFAS (The Defense Finance and Accounting Service) and my bank
account. Checking my latest leave and earnings statement
(LES), I see that I make $1,117.80, before taxes. After
taxes, I take home $874.20. When I run that through Windows'
Calculator, I come up with an annual salary of $13,413.60 before
taxes, and $10,490.40 after. I work in the Air Force Network
Control Center (AFNCC), where I am part of the team responsible
for the administration of a 25,000 host computer network.
I am involved with infrastructure management, specifically with
Cisco Systems equipment. A quick check of http://www.monster.com
under jobs for Network Technicians in the Washington, D.C. area
reveals a position in my career field, requiring three years'
experience with my job.
Amazingly, this job does NOT pay $13,413.60 a year, nor
does it pay less than this. No, this job is being offered
at $70,000 to $80,000 per annum.
I'm sure you can draw the obvious conclusions. Also, you
tout increases to Basic Allowance for Housing and Basic Allowance
for Sustenance (housing and food allowances, respectively) as
being a further boon to an already-overcompensated force.
Again, I'm curious as to where this money has gone, as BAH and
BAS were both slashed 15% in the Hill AFB area effective in
Given the tenor of your column, I would assume that you
have never had the pleasure of serving your country in her armed
forces. Before you take it upon yourself to once more
castigate congressional and DoD leadership for attempting to
get the families in the military's lowest pay brackets of AFDC,
WIC, and food stamps. I suggest that you join a group
of deploying soldiers headed for Saudi-I leave the choice of
service branch up to you. Whatever choice you make, though,
opt for the six month rotation: it will guarantee you the longest
possible time away from your family and friends, thus
giving you the full "deployment experience."
As your group prepares to board the plane, make sure to
note the spouses and children who are saying goodbye to their
loved ones. Also, take care to note that several families
are still unsure of how they'll be able to make ends meet while
the primary breadwinner is gone-obviously they've been squandering
the vast piles of cash the DoD has been giving them. Try to
deploy over a major holiday; Christmas and Thanksgiving are
perennial favorites. And when you're actually over there,
sitting in a DFP (Defensive Fire Position, the modern-day foxhole),
shivering against the cold desert night, and the flight sergeant
tells you that there aren't enough people on shift to relieve
you for chow. Remember this: trade whatever MRE you manage
to get for the tuna noodle casserole or cheese tortellini, and
add Tabasco to everything. Talk to your loved ones as
often as you are permitted; it won't nearly be long enough or
often enough, but take what you can get and be thankful for
You may have picked up on the fact that I disagree with
most of the points you present in your op-ed piece. But,
tomorrow from Voltaire, I will defend to the death your right
to say it. You see, I am an American fighting man, a guarantor
of your First Amendment rights and every other right you cherish.
On a daily basis, my brother and sister soldiers worldwide ensure
that you and people like you can thumb your collective nose
at us, all on a salary that is nothing short of pitiful and
under conditions that would make most people cringe. We
hemorrhage our best and brightest into the private sector because
we can't offer the stability and pay of civilian companies.
And you, Ms. Williams, have the gall to say that we make more
than we deserve? Rubbish.
By A1C Michael Bragg, Hill AFB AFNCC